May 24, 2009

missing supplies, friend's son, micropreemie

1. When I’m drying off from my shower there are footsteps in the hall. Throughout the week, pens and paper disappear from my desk, and my mouse is attached to someone else’s computer: the kids are here.

2. My friend’s son, visiting with friends from Europe, is driving around the West. I start to shake his hand, but he initiatess the hug that I hesitated to. I make a point of not exclaiming about how big he’s gotten; he asks me what I’m working on, seems really interested. Picks up his part of the check when we go to his childhood’s favorite barbecue joint, which we love showing off to his European pals. Then miniature golf: five teenagers and me, and I get the best score!

3. Agents 95 and 97 are old enough to see movies I would have considered too disturbing a couple of years ago. Children of Men, a dystopia in which the human race has gone infertile. When the first baby in the world is born after eighteen years of global childlessness, battling soldiers cease fire and kneel in wonder, abused refugees press forward to touch its foot.

The wife of a friend of mine has given birth to a sixth-month baby, Charlie, who weighs a pound and a half. My friend sends photos of the child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, glossy purplish-pink, diapered and electroded and breathing-tubed, growing every moment in its sleep. Charlie’s head is as long as his father’s thumb. He wears a pink and blue knit cap, on which his father’s head rests lightly in the recommended comfort hold. His twin brother died. Suddenly, it is difficult to imagine a world without Charlie.

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